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Driver slams into buildings and cars before assaulting business partner

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Posted at 5:56 PM, May 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 10:12:35-04

SALT LAKE CITY – A man who was cited for drugs Saturday morning allegedly went on a property destruction rampage less than 24 hours later. Deluca, Philip G. SO# 358909 mug

Police say 34-year-old Phillip DeLuca used his truck to ram two houses, a business and a police station, along with several cars.

The people who live at the homes DeLuca hit say they knew him and grew up with him, but they say they don't know why he did this.

“It was just absolutely insane,” Jeremy Smith said. “Everything happened so fast.”

From his front lawn, Smith stares at all the damage the truck caused.

“We heard the ruckus going on out here, kinda spinning his tires,” he said.

Smith said DeLuca backed his truck into the car in the driveway, then squared his truck up—aiming straight for the family’s living room window.

“Threw it back in reverse and came flying up on the porch and crashed right into the front of the house,” Smith said.

“The last thing I expected was to open the door and see a truck backing into my face," Smith's father said.

Smith’s dad got the worst of it. The dead bolt from the front door was imprinted on his back. The truck narrowly missed Smith’s 13-year-old daughter, who had been sleeping on a couch in the living room.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Smith said.

From there, police say DeLuca drove down the street, hitting another car.

“We don’t know if he rear-ended it, but this is right where he hit it,” the vehicle owner said.

Police say the truck then rammed a garage door in a police substation, and then hit the Lift House, a local business, before stalling on I-215. The car was likely too damaged to continue driving.

“He, I guess, has had a falling out with a business partner,” said Lt. Lex Bell with the Unified Police Department.

Bell said DeLuca and a business partner may have worked together doing landscaping, but the two got in an argument.

“He targeted properties that he worked with this individual on, or properties that he knew this other individual had been working on,” Bell said.

After breaking down on the side of I-215, Bell said DeLuca walked about a mile to reach that business partner’s home. Once there, he allegedly broke in and assaulted the man—who was in bed.

The suspect was wielding a blunt object, but police said the victim, his wife and his daughters were able to fight back.

“There was a physical fight that ensued,” Bell said. “They were able to hold him down until we were able to get there and arrest him.”

Police say DeLuca was hurt as a result of breaking into that home and needed medical attention for facial injuries. He was taken to a hospital Sunday, and he was booked into jail after being released from the hospital.